ISBN10: 1590174976 ISBN13: 9781590174975 Contributors: Mantel, Hilary (Introduction) Publisher: New York Review of Books Published: Feb 14 2012 Pages: 251 Weight: 0.60lbs. Height: 8.50" Width: 5.25" Depth: 0.75" Language: English
Perhaps every novelist harbors a monster at heart, an irrepressible and utterly irresponsible fantasist, not to mention a born and ingenious liar, without which all her art would go for naught. Angel, at any rate, is the story of such a monster. Angelica Deverell lives above her diligent drab mother’s grocery shop in a dreary turn-of-the-century English neighborhood, but spends her days dreaming of handsome Paradise House, where her aunt is enthroned as a maid. But in Angel’s imagination, she is the mistress of the house, a realm of lavish opulence, of evening gowns and peacocks. Then she begins to write popular novels, and this fantasy, and her incredible will to achieve it, becomes her whole life. Angel is confidant, ambitious, selfish, and successful, and she lets no one—mother, aunt, editor, best friend, husband—stand in her way. Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel, unlike Angel’s own novels, is self-aware, funny, and subtly layered. It both sharply satirizes its protagonist and acknowledges the intensity of her imagination and the rigor of her work, all the while seeing her as fully human, complicated, and even sympathetic.